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Don’t Power Trowel Blindly and Trap Unwanted Concrete Moisture

2015-5-12 9:17:31

Power trowels offer a great option for smoothing large concrete slabs and getting the slab to a hard, level finish. But timing is key, and trying to rush the concrete power trowel process can actually slow the project and add cost by limiting the porous nature of the slab that allows the concrete moisture to evaporate from the surface during the drying process. That glossy, smooth surface can actually retard the concrete drying process and extend the drying time required to meet a concrete moisture specification for a flooring installation.

Timing the finishing process is crucial to the end quality of a concrete slab. Newer technology and equipment make it easier to start the concrete finishing process too quickly; but the risks of compacting and delamination also increase, particularly when heavier power trowel equipment is taken onto lightweight concrete applications. A combination blade allows the operator to level and finish in one step, but the risk of overworking the concrete in that initial stage increases. The sharper the angle of the blade, the more pressure it exerts on the concrete and the slicker that surface becomes. High blade speeds also “burn” the slab surface, sealing over the naturally porous nature of concrete and sealing in the moisture that needs to be released for the slab to dry to allow for direct installation of a floor covering without the need of a moisture barrier system.

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